In 2024, drivers will once again face many changes. Some of them, especially those involving fines abroad, are very expensive. But funding is also being cut and old driving licenses have to be exchanged again.
At the beginning of the new year, financial support for electric car buyers in Germany is changing. State funding and the auto industry's share of this funding will be reduced. At the same time, the upper price limit for eligible electric vehicles will be reduced. From 2024, only electric cars that cost a maximum of 45,000 euros net will receive support. But: The funding will then no longer be 6,750 euros, but only 4,500 euros, with the state contributing 3,000 euros and the car manufacturer contributing 1,500 euros.
In addition, everyone who was born between 1965 and 1970 and whose driver's license was issued before January 19, 2013 must exchange their old driver's license by January 19th. Those affected who have not yet exchanged their gray or pink paper driving license for the current plastic card should make an appointment soon - the voluntary exchange is possible at any time at the Citizens' Office. If you only show the expired document during an inspection, you will have to pay a fine.
Speaking of driving licences, new drivers will probably have to pay more in the future as higher test fees are planned. According to “Auto Motor und Sport” an increase of eleven percent is planned. This would mean that the fee for the theory test could increase to around 25 euros. For the practical test in driving license class B, learner drivers would then have to pay around 130 euros instead of the previous 117 euros. The change to the fee schedule is to be decided on December 15, 2023 and will take effect immediately. However, the costs for driving lessons are likely to be more painful, because according to ADAC, a new car driving license now costs up to 4,500 euros, depending on the location and duration of training - and there is no sign of the enormous costs going down.
Many other changes affecting driving licenses could arise as part of the fourth EU driving license directive. This provides for numerous innovations, such as changed weight limits for class B holders and fitness to drive tests for people over 70 years of age. However, the reform is scheduled to be developed in 2024, so a deadline and the exact scope cannot currently be foreseen.
A small, but if necessary, expensive change concerns winter tires. From October 2024, only winter and all-season tires with the “Alpine symbol” (mountain and snowflake) will be permitted in winter conditions. Tires with the "M S" marking, the production of which has been discontinued since 2018, are no longer permitted from this point onwards. Tires that bear both symbols may still be used.
It will probably also be more expensive at the gas stations. The next stage of the CO2 tax will come into force on January 1, 2024, which, according to the federal government's decision, will be 40 euros per ton. Experts estimate that this could make petrol and diesel at petrol stations more expensive by around three cents per liter. A further increase in the CO2 tax to 50 euros per ton is planned for 2025.
There may be higher penalties abroad from next year: According to “Auto Bild”, fines in Italy for certain traffic offenses are set to rise sharply. In particular, anything that distracts from driving, i.e. offenses such as cell phone use and drunk driving, should be punished more severely in the future. The Italian Parliament still needs to approve this plan before the new regulations can potentially come into force in January 2024.
Another change affects Switzerland. The German-Swiss police agreement is due to come into force at the beginning of 2024. This makes it easier for Switzerland to collect fines from German drivers who are caught speeding in Switzerland - and vice versa. One condition for this is that the total amount of the fine and procedural costs exceeds the limit of 70 euros in Germany or 80 Swiss francs in Switzerland. While this limit gives you a lot of room in Germany, the situation is different in Switzerland: the standard rate for exceeding the speed limit by just 6-10 km/h in urban areas is already 120 Swiss francs (equivalent to 127 euros). Previously, German drivers also received notices for violations, but did not have to fear official enforcement in this country. Only when crossing the border again could unpaid fines become a real problem.